the turn of the key

3 stars

This was a fairly good Mystery/Thriller book about a nanny left to care for 4 children in a remote Scottish Highlands “smart” house that is reportedly “haunted”. The author did an ok job of building tension, but overall, the story was a little blah.

Rowan Caine gets a live-in nanny job in a remote house in the Scottish Highlands. The house is outfitted with a complete electronic system that controls the doors, lights, curtains, temperature, etc. It’s also equipped with surveillance cameras and speakers throughout the house. The day after Rowan arrives, the parents take off for a business trip, leaving Rowan to care for their 3 young daughters by herself. Rowan can barely work any of the smart house functions, and must contend with the hostility of two of the girls, as well as the baby.

When creepy things start happening and Rowan becomes sleep deprived, her nerves start to frazzle. She starts to doubt herself and makes mistakes with the children. Things don’t improve when the 4th daughter, a trouble-making 14 year old, returns from boarding school. Ultimately a tragedy occurs and Rowan is arrested for murder, which she vehemently denies. The story leading up to the death unfolds as she writes to a lawyer begging him to take her case.

The story is told from Rowan’s perspective. I am ambivalent about Rowan – I didn’t like or dislike her. The story flowed smoothly and it was an easy read, but there just wan’t much there. There were a few struggles with the electronics, and a few spats with the girls, but the “creepiness” and “scary” elements of the book were pretty lame. I wasn’t nervous about what was going to happen next, and the “mystery” was pretty apparent.

Overall, it’s an ok book, but it didn’t “wow” me.